Marker Text: In Mar. 1748, George Washington first visited Winchester, then known as Fredericktown, as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax. Washington purchased property in Winchester in 1753 and was an unsuccessful candidate for a House of Burgesses seat here in 1755. Winchester served as Washington's headquarters from 1755 to 1758 while he commanded Virginia troops on the western frontier during the French and Indian War. He was also involved with the construction of Fort Loudoun here and a series of other frontier forts authorized by the Virginia General Assembly during this period. He represented Frederick County in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1758 to 1765.
Location: On U.S. Route 11 (Martinsburg Pike) north of intersection with Route 1322 (Brooke Road) northside of Winchester. Grouped with marker A-4 (Fort Collier). Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2005.
Photo taken looking north on U.S. Route 11. Click any photo to enlarge.
Winchester played an important role in George Washington's early adult life, as a surveyor and the development of his military and political career. At the age of sixteen, Washington came to Winchester to begin what he thought would be his life's profession, surveying. He came to what was then called Frederick Town (Winchester) in March 1748 as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax who lived in nearby Greenway Court at White Post. He spent the next 10 years experiencing many of his firsts in the area.
George Washington’s office on Cork Street in Winchester, VA.
With his income from surveying, he bought a number of acres around Frederick County and also a lot in the town of Winchester then known as Frederick Town. As a property owner he was able to serve as a Frederick County member of the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1758-1765. During the French and Indian War he commanded the Virginia Regiment from his headquarters in Winchester. After the fall of Ft. Duquesne in 1758 and his having inherited his half-brother's home, he retired from military service to marry Martha Custis and take up the life of a planter at Mount Vernon.
This marker is located on the north side of Winchester, but an old office used by Washington is located in the downtown section of Winchester. George Washington used a little log building, now the middle room of George Washington Office Museum, (32 West Cork Street, Winchester, VA 22601) as a military office from September 1755 to December of 1756 while Fort Loudoun was being constructed at the north end of town. Washington planned Fort Loudoun, supervised the work and brought his own blacksmiths from Mount Vernon to do the ironwork. See prior post on Fort Loudoun for more information.
Two cannons are located on the grounds of the museum, this one was left behind by Gen. Braddock. The other below is from Fort Loudoun.
Located on the grounds of the museum is a cannon that was left by General Edward Braddock in Alexandria. It is among a number of artifacts displayed at the office. The current exhibit is entitled "George Washington and the West." This display includes some of Washington's personal effects, surveying equipment and a scale model of the town of Winchester circa 1755 which shows the fort prominently located at the north end of the town.
On the grounds of the museum is a statue of a young surveyor George Washington. This statue was dedicated in 2004 by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. George Washington's early life was influenced by his years spent here in the Winchester area, which helped shape his later path in life.
When you read about the details about a person's life, like, George Washington and others, you begin to realize how different circumstances in their lives influenced them and how different decisions might have changed their place in history. At the age of 16, George Washington had his heart set on joining the British Navy. His mother wouldn’t allow it, fearing for her son’s safety.
Though Washington's mother gave him her blessing to travel 80 miles from his home at Mount Vernon through the shrubs and crags of the mountains and into the Shenandoah Valley to Winchester. Not only did he hold his first job here, but he also bought his first property, held his first public office, and spent the early years of his military career in Winchester. When George Washington first arrived in Winchester, he noted in his journal how relaxed the attitude among people in the Shenandoah Valley was, compared to those near the eastern shore.